Big Changes Coming To Google & PPC in 2014

By Alan Hernandez

As many of you know, Google launched Enhanced Campaigns earlier this year which brought many changes to AdWords and SEM. Following up those changes to AdWords, Google will be rolling out 6 new additions in 2014.

Appearance of Ads Will Change

First appearing in the UK and on mobile devices, Google has launched a new ad format. Due to a ruling made by the FCC earlier this year, search engines must clearly denote an ad on the SERP. Some of the obvious differences include: no “ads related to” above the ads, ads are no longer highlighted by an off white background, and new ads have a large yellow “ad” box next to them. While one outcome of this change is for CTRs to dip, I personally feel that CTRs may actually rise a little bit. The “ad” icon box makes the ads stand out a bit more and without the off white background ads look far more similar to the organic results.

Before

After

PLAs – Larger Part of the Search Results

PLAs are on the move and they are going to be playing a bigger part on the SERP in 2014. PLAs will be moving from the right side of the SERP to the top spots above organic listings. As PLAs becoming a more dominant part of paid search results, we are going to start seeing the cannibalization of traditional search ads.

What this means for 2014:
– Cannibalization of tradition search ads
– Increased traffic for PLA campaigns
– Managing and optimizing PLA feeds will become more important and more of a necessity

Updated Quality Score Algorithm

Google recently updated their Quality Score algorithm, which factors the use of Ad Extensions into the quality score and rankings of ads. This means that advertisers are going to need to be diligent about adding all relevant ad extensions to remain competitive in the space.

This will encourage advertisers to maintain ad extensions on a frequent basis and will also improve the appearance of ads. As ads look more visually appealing, we can expect CTRs to increase.

SERP Makeover

A lot of the changes that we will be witnessing in 2014 will really impact how the SERP looks to users. Google has been doing quite a bit to test anything and everything to improve the user experience, which includes anything that will make the SERP more visually appealing to users. As Google begins to roll out Banner Ads and Image Ad Extensions, we will see a shift away from traditional text ads and the push for more “Visual Search Ads”. This push towards more “Visual Search Ads” can also be seen with Google’s changes in PLA locations on the SERP.

Southwest Banner Ad

Image Ad Extensions

Organic Results Getting Pushed Farther Down the SERP

Organic results are becoming a very small component of the SERP. With all of the changes being rolled out by Google, we will start to see less of the traditional organic results. The following are going to dominate the SERP and cause this shift away from organic results:

–        PLAs

–        The incorporation of Ad Extensions into the Quality Score algorithm, which will increase the real estate taken up by paid search ads.

–        Image ad extensions

–        Google Carousel

–        SERP Makeover – Incorporation of Image Ad Extensions and Banner Ads, and the relocation of PLAs to the top of the results.

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